April 14th, 2010
04:34 PM ET
4 years ago

Are Florida-19's results a good political indicator?

Democrat Ted Deutch easily defeated his Republican opponent Tuesday night in a Florida special election.
Democrat Ted Deutch easily defeated his Republican opponent Tuesday night in a Florida special election.

(CNN) – Call it the race that Washington ignored, until now.

National Democrats are celebrating the results of Tuesday's special election in Florida's 19th Congressional District, which Democratic State Sen. Ted Deutch won handily. According to unofficial results from the Florida Secretary of State's office, Deutch won 62 percent of the vote, with Republican candidate Ed Lynch grabbing 35 percent and the remaining three percent going to third-party candidates.

The special election was held to fill the seat of former nine-term Democratic Rep. Robert Wexler, who stepped down at the beginning of the year to lead a think tank focusing on issues facing the Middle East. The contest was the first federal election to be held since congressional passage of the Democrats health care plans. Lynch said he wanted to repeal the new law and made health care a big issue in his campaign, in a district with a high proportion of senior voters. Deutch supported the new legislation. There was some talk that Republicans were hoping to pull off an upset similar to Scott Brown's January victory in the Massachusetts special election to fill the seat of the late Sen. Ted Kennedy.

Both the Democratic National Committee and the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee sent out emails Wednesday touting the political implications of their special election victory and what it means for the larger battle over health care.

But are Tuesday's results a good indicator of the popularity of the new health care law or of the current political climate?

Neither the DCCC nor the National Republican Congressional Committee spent much time or money on the contest. The district, which stretches from northern Broward County into Palm Beach County just miles inland from Florida's Atlantic coastline, is heavily Democratic, and Deutch dramatically outraised Lynch.

"I don't think we can draw broad conclusions from Florida 19 because neither national party got involved. Lynch tried to make health care the focus of the race, but he didn't have the resources, the party backing, and was essentially out on an island by himself," says Nathan Gonzales, political editor for the non-partisan Rothenberg Political Report.

"In Florida 19, it's no surprise that a Democrat won a heavily-Democratic district. We finally got a yawner in an otherwise exciting election cycle. This just proves that Republicans aren't going to win 435 House seats in November," adds Gonzales.

The next special election for a vacant House seat is April 27, when voters in Georgia's ninth district will cast ballots to replace former Republican Rep. Nathan Deal, who is running for governor. But the GOP is expected to keep the seat in a district they dominate.

But no fears, two better tests lay ahead. The Democrats will be defending two congressional seats in special elections next month in Pennsylvania-12, to fill the seat of the late Rep. Jack Murtha, and Hawaii-1, to replace former Rep. Neil Abercrombie, who stepped down to run for governor.

Follow Paul Steinhauser on Twitter: @psteinhausercnn


Filed under: 2010 • Florida
soundoff (75 Responses)
  1. Larry

    John Boehner, are you paying attention?

    Pack your bags. Ohio is tired of you too!

    April 14, 2010 04:42 pm at 4:42 pm |
  2. Turnabout is Fair Play

    I've already said it once before but it deserves saying again; while the Republicans are barking and crowing about the healthcare LAW that passed and the few seats they picked up, the silent majority on the Left are biding our time until November when we will show you what real voting power is all about.

    April 14, 2010 04:43 pm at 4:43 pm |
  3. Sue

    Nothing to see here..............

    It was a Democrat stronghold district--that MANY (Including the Republicans)--knew that the Democrats were going to win.

    The Democrats outnumber the Republicans/Independents in this district by about 4 to 1.

    However, we will definitely talk again AFTER the elections in November!!!!

    April 14, 2010 04:44 pm at 4:44 pm |
  4. geecee

    This WAS a pleasant surprise. Any talk we hear about Florida these days is that it's become the reddest state in the Union practically!! Just goes to show you. You can't believe everything Rush and Glenn say. In fact, you shouldn't believe anything they say. Liars, hatemongers, and fearmongers is all they are, just making money off people's stupidity, gullibility and paranoia.

    April 14, 2010 04:47 pm at 4:47 pm |
  5. Bertina

    Washington didn't ignore it, CNN did.

    April 14, 2010 04:47 pm at 4:47 pm |
  6. Pea Tarty

    "bailouts and new entitlements like Obamacare".. How much did your taxes go up again? Oh they WENT DOWN.

    Oh wait a Dem won a referndum on halth care in FLA, medis is all over reportin the win, not

    April 14, 2010 04:48 pm at 4:48 pm |
  7. Bertina

    Whoever wrote this is exceptionally biased. Why is one special election "better" than another? It's clear that it depends on the district whether or not a certain candidate has a better chance than another.

    April 14, 2010 04:49 pm at 4:49 pm |
  8. shamgar50

    What Tea Party Influence?
    Tea Who?

    April 14, 2010 04:51 pm at 4:51 pm |
  9. Chris D.

    Had a GOPer won this would have been huge news...........

    I'm ready to fight for the DEM party in November........

    April 14, 2010 04:52 pm at 4:52 pm |
  10. Publius13

    All politics is local. No grand lessons should be drawn from this race. Nor should any have been drawn from the N.J. and Va. governor's races, Mass. senatorial race, or NY-23. Each race had its own local focus, electorate, and outcome. The chattering class is pretty much ignoring this one because it doesn't fit the CW du jour.

    April 14, 2010 04:55 pm at 4:55 pm |
  11. Dutch/Bad Newz, VA

    This is a sign of what's going to come In November.

    PACK YOUR BAGS REPUBLICANT'S

    April 14, 2010 04:56 pm at 4:56 pm |
  12. Dano

    So much for this being a referendum on Health Care Reform, huh Republicans? I'd say the voters in South Florida have spoken loudly and clearly.

    April 14, 2010 04:58 pm at 4:58 pm |
  13. Chris

    Let's face it, if Ed Lynch did win, Republicans would be calling it a National Refrendum on the Health Care Bill. Just like they did with Scott Brown's election, the GOP would be acting like the November election was held and they won a super majority in both houses. They'd call Lynch's election a mandate from the people and start acting like they're the ones running the whole government.

    But since Lynch lost, the Right is playing it off as minor race, of no real consequence.

    April 14, 2010 04:59 pm at 4:59 pm |
  14. gary

    While the Teabager's and Republican's make noise as a vocal minority, they are a minority!

    April 14, 2010 05:00 pm at 5:00 pm |
  15. Rumsfeld

    A win is a win. The GOP will twist this but it doesn't change a thing, boys.

    April 14, 2010 05:00 pm at 5:00 pm |
  16. Ben in Texas

    Yesterday, Keith in Austin said that Deutch was toast.

    Well, today Deutch is a Congressman. He's hot, but he's not toast.

    April 14, 2010 05:01 pm at 5:01 pm |
  17. Lillie

    Fired UP and ready to GO!! And that TEA Party is mighty quiet!!! ummmm.....congratulations Congressman Deutch!

    April 14, 2010 05:02 pm at 5:02 pm |
  18. obamacrat

    I'm sure I'll hear about this from Hannity on the ride home from work........NOT!!!

    April 14, 2010 05:04 pm at 5:04 pm |
  19. Holding Up A Mirror

    Yes, they are, otherwise you folks in the media have ZERO credibility.

    Before the final vote was in for the Massachusetts Senatorial seat that had been held for 40 years by liberal Ted Kennedy, the GOP'ers and their supporters were CROWING about how the election of Scott Brown was a referendum on the Healthcare Insurance Reform Bill.

    Now, in the 1st election to fill a seat in Congress after the passage of the Healthcare Insurance Reform LAW, we see that the Democrat won.

    Seems to be a fairly strong repudiation of the opposition to the bill ... at least it is if there is any consistency to the Republican's twisted logic.

    You can best believe if the Democrat had lost, they would have attributed it to a backlash against "Obamacare".

    April 14, 2010 05:05 pm at 5:05 pm |
  20. Brian

    Would you one lump or two with that, tea baggers?

    April 14, 2010 05:08 pm at 5:08 pm |
  21. Randolph Carter, I'm no expert but...

    Hey Teabaggers, how's that healthcare-ey mandate-ey thing workin' out fer ya? The REAL real Americans have spoken. You Betcha! Wink Wink! Have a nice day

    April 14, 2010 05:09 pm at 5:09 pm |
  22. SC-Pub "no" more

    You "tee-baggers" keep shelling out those bucks to the "Tea-Baggers Party;" Palinban needs another million for the ten speeches she has left on this tour.
    What a gimmick.... the same shrill voice... the same old tired lines...a couple of winks... and a lot of smiles....jump on an awaiting Lear and off to the next $100,000.
    And you could hear her exclaim as she flew out of sight..."SUCKERS!"

    April 14, 2010 05:10 pm at 5:10 pm |
  23. Tired Ant

    Wow!
    A Democrat winning in a Democrat district where registered democrats outnumber republicans 4 to 1! How did you ever pull out such a squeaker of a victory!?

    Let's see how smug you socialists are in November.

    Take a good long look at the Democrat congress and remember it well.
    It's the last one you'll see in your lifetime.

    April 14, 2010 05:10 pm at 5:10 pm |
  24. Claudia, Houston, Tx

    Civility pays off because Americans deserve better and expect better from our leaders and we prove that when we vote. Health care reform has passed and Republicans are locked in some kind of time zone that Americans are no longer interested in hearing about. Thank you Democrat leaders for keeping civility alive.

    April 14, 2010 05:12 pm at 5:12 pm |
  25. Glenn Koons

    Oh puleeze. The district had over a 100.000 Dem majority in voters. The liberal Jewish voters would vote zombie like for Dems unless they hosted the Hamas leaders in that district. Wexler had had huge liberal majorities. Lynch was a noobie and getting 32% of that vote is not bad. And Ted will win in Nov. too but this is not a district which ever was in doubt. See Cook, Zogby, Ras. In swing districts, we shall see if this type of vote holds up. If seniors , whether Dem or not cannot see the fiscal disaster all of this Debt, Care, coming VAT will bring and is bringing America, there is no hope for liberty. With 47% of Americans not paying taxes now, all Dem constituents and filled with the welfare mentality, America is starting to look like Venezuela. And these posters above blathering about voting ...for what??/ Socialist Pacifism? What a bunch of dunces.

    April 14, 2010 05:13 pm at 5:13 pm |
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